Wrestling gaining momentum with the youth
- By Marjorie D.L. Roden | April 21, 2023
The recent Prince Albert Winter Festival (PAWF) drew in large crowds from the city and surrounding communities.
“It’s been a good turn-out because this year, it has about three times the amount of people it’s had in the past,” said Dylan Arcand, an arm wrestler.
He finished with two silver medals in the men’s zero to 177 kg weight class.
Arcand was surprised at how popular the arm wrestling event was. He wasn’t sure if it was because the sport is growing or if it was just more accessible this time around.
“It was upstairs last year. Not a lot of people went upstairs to check it out,” said Arcand. “Having it here (on the main floor hallway), everybody’s coming by. I’ve never seen a crowd like that. Usually you don’t see (spectators) unless it’s nationals or provincials.”
Originally from Prince Albert, he’s spent the last few years learning as much as he can about arm wrestling.
Arcand didn’t realize how big it was until he turned 26. He’s now so committed to the sport that he moved from P.A. to Saskatoon just to find a club.
“It’s literally one of the most important things in my life, and it always will be now,” said Arcand. “It’s something I found in my life that I’m somewhat good at, and something I’m always working towards.”
The sport is open to everyone.
Two of the younger female competitors, Aura Isbister, from the Lac LaRonge Indian Band, and Nazhoney Taubhorn, from the Mistawasis First Nation, earned gold and bronze in their respective categories.
Being based in Prince Albert means they have limited training facilities.
“My dad, Russell Howland, he’s really good at this. I only work out with him,” said Isbister. “I do have another coach, she’s my mom, Jean Isbister.”
Taubhorn is relatively new to arm wrestling having competed only once a couple years ago.
“I go to boxing with the Red Wolf Club,” she said. “I did it as a change (from boxing).”
Being that Isbister is more experienced, she was more confident going into the competition.
“I thought I’d be out right away,” said Taubhorn, who was surprised by her win.
All three arm wrestlers had their own advice for the youth to encourage them to get involved in the sport.
“Do what you want to do and don’t let anyone hold you back,” said Isbister.
“It’s basically fun,” Taubhorn said, adding “What I would say to a five-year-old is, if you really want to do it, you should do it. Even if you have no experience, you can learn it.”
Arcand said it’s great to see the kids watching the competition with excitement and he encourages all those interested to give it a try.
“A lot of times, for the kids, it’s a lot less expensive to join up for arm wrestling (compared to other sports),” he said. “I didn’t start until I was in my twenties. Imagine, if you started younger, the sky’s the limit.”
The benefits of arm wrestling are it teaches you focus and discipline, said Arcand.